Just Because He Can

Right after Christmas, the transmission went out on our van. We’ve had this van for about eight years. It was 12 years old, and had over 200K on it. It had served us well, and it was more expensive to repair than it was worth. We elected not to repair it, and just get by with one car for awhile.

People would often ask what we were looking for, and really we weren’t looking.

While You’re Waiting

It seems that things are happening really fast right now. I’ve had a few reality checks this week with all that is accumulating on my “plate.”  For three years I’ve sat wondering what God had in store, and if His plan would really happen….or if it was His plan at all, for how could His plan NOT happen.

I’ve felt useless, bored, unfulfilled, and frustrated.

As I’ve met with some other women and discussed projects and plans, I’ve found myself saying, “Well, I didn’t really finish that because I didn’t know if it would ever be used.”

And now I’m asking myself the questions….

What Are You Afraid Of?

buddyWe have the most amazing dog on the planet. I know I’m biased, but I would say he is just about perfect. This comes from someone who really isn’t an animal person. In fact, I dug my heels into the ground for as long as I could before my boy household added a pet. But boys need dogs, and Bill picked a good one.

Buddy would often lightly clasp the arms of our toddlers in his teeth, when they wondered to the edge of our Arkansas country yard; so they wouldn’t wander off. They would stand there and cry until I came and got them, unharmed, but trapped.

Here at our Idaho mountain home, he has gotten between our boys and a bear two times. He trees coons, eats bees, knows his boundaries, and leaves the deer alone.

However, last week, we discovered what Buddy is afraid of……….balloons. That’s right. Our bear chasing, coon treeing, protector is afraid of balloons.

The Biggest Hole

not-good-enoughAs I began journaling through some things this week, I began to see a common theme in the hurts that have left scars and holes in my heart.

We were asked to draw or paste a picture in our books that would represent our woundedness.

I drew something like the image to the left.

Failed relationships….not good enough

Rejected by those I loved…….not good enough

Insecure in academics……not good enough

Always falling short of the “standards”….not good enough

No college degree…….not good enough

Denied service opportunities………not good enough

Insecure newlywed…….not good enough

Seen as unimportant…..not good enough

Rejected by publishers…..not good enough

NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

But those are just feelings, often based on lies. Lies that I believed and allowed to control my feelings, which I promptly told to “put a cork in it!” and not work through.

So using Philippians 4:8 as my guide, I wrote out some truths today to help me steer my feelings to a better “parking place.”

  • I was always “good enough” and at the same time I don’t need to be “good enough” – because Jesus is good enough to cover me.
  • Even when I wasn’t perceived “good enough” by others, I was true to myself.
  • Just because I often felt “not good enough,” doesn’t mean that others always saw me that way.
  • No matter if I was horribly wronged, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  • In the past, I know my character was solid.
  • What I know to be admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy in my life right now? My attitude and my openness with others.
  • What I want to remember about my past? I always sought the Lord.
  • What I want to hope for in the future? A family that seeks Him together.
  • In what ways am I uniquely equipped to understand others because of my emotional wounds? I have a lot of compassion for others who can’t seem to measure up.

Those are just a few of the things I worked through on Week Five, Day 4 of my Made to Crave Participant’s Guide. I really recommend that if you decide to read the book, that you get the participant’s guide. Even if you can’t do the video sessions anywhere, you will still benefit from plenty of material in the book. The book almost feels a bit incomplete without it.

Anyway…..have you identified some holes in your heart? If you’re like me, you might need God’s help to point them out. ….and once He does, don’t forget to ask Him for the truths that will help heal them.

He’s good like that!

Energy Giver, Waster, or Taker?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a concept I was taught years ago through a ministry I was serving in – the concept of being and energy giver.

Awhile back, I made a routine trip through Costco, carefully organizing who would be the food guard (the kid who sits in the back of the cart), the sample spotter (the kids who sits in the front of the cart), and the helper (the kid who walks along side and helps grab things from the shelf). We got our groceries, sampled some samples, and proceeded to checkout….and suddenly I was in MOPS mom heaven. The checker praised me over and over for the good job I did in shopping – how frugal I was, what good food choices I made (healthy), etc. I walked away feeling so empowered. But that wasn’t all. On the way out the door, the receipt cop, gave all my kids a pep talk on minding their mom and being good helpers, so on and so forth. What?! Did Costco have a “Encourage Your Local Mom Shopper” convention? It seems so silly, but I left the store feeling like a good mom. Same thing has happened the last few times I’ve been to the doctor’s office. Honestly, when you have to take four boys to the doctor at once, there is nothing like a pat on the shoulder from your pediatrician as he tells you what a good job you are doing, and how great your kids are!

Contrast that with a visit to another store, just a few days after the Costco trip. I really was struggling with the kids to get them through the store. I needed food, but ended up leaving with apples and one other thing. I couldn’t even think. When I got to the check- out line, the checker was rude and continuously getting onto my kids for every little thing. They weren’t really being bad, just annoying. I was so stressed about keeping the checker from being mean, that I found myself coming down overly hard on the boys. Honestly, I was cranky the rest of the day. I left the store feeling like a failure.

Now really, my feelings are my responsibility. I need to take them to the Lord – good or bad, and let Him adjust my attitude. But the point I’m making is the simple way we can make or break someone’s day by our attitude in passing. We were at the checkout stand for five minutes, but I left feeling like a failure. It would have only cost her five minutes of grinning and bearing it (giving us grace) for me to leave with a whole different attitude. But those five minutes, instead, sucked the energy straight out of me.

On the morning originally wrote this, a cranky individual, who is obviously not a morning person, just about zapped all my energy right before a big MOPS meeting I was in charge of. I really had to get on my knees before I faced anyone else and get myself back in the right frame of mind to give energy to others that had just been sucked out of me.

I don’t mean to pick on anyone else. I’m equally as guilty. When my attitude flares, I can drain my whole family in five minutes flat. The thing is, sometimes our message is valid. But we often can convey the same message in a way that shows concern for the other person involved, rather than just vomiting our feelings all over them.

I feel I’m rambling a bit. This is a blog. But what I’m getting at is that some are energy givers. They just light up the room when they walk in. They make their encounters with others count, even when brief. Others just waste energy. They don’t take it, but they don’t give it either. They don’t make anyone’s life better or worse. Others just suck the life out of everyone they meet. It’s all about them.

In Biblical terms, Ephesians 4:29 says it best:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Our actions and eye contact often convey as much as our words, and our goal as believers should be to build others up according to their needs. I want to be an energy giver. That means I need to continuously be seeking to know the needs of those around me and be doing my part to build them up – in word, action, attitude, prayer – giving life to them, motivating them to be all God intends them to be. Every encounter counts….even the mom you pass in the grocery store!